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Angela Lindvall will lose anonymity as she steps into 'Runway' role

Though her face has graced the covers of magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar, model Angela Lindvall remains anonymous.

That may be hard to believe, but as she scurries in from a downpour, wearing no makeup, her hair left to its own devices, a black floppy hat fending off the rain, she is unrecognizable.

Except for her height, you never would associate Lindvall with high fashion -- or any kind of fashion, for that matter.

And what's even stranger, she likes it that way. "Even when I first started modeling, I told my agents, 'OK, I'll do this, but I don't want to be on the cover of anything.' I didn't realize that being on the cover is what made you famous; it's what gets you beauty contracts and all you want. I don't walk around with my hair done and high heels. So nobody would know."

They're probably going to know when "Project Runway All Stars" premieres at 9 p.m.Thursday on Lifetime. As hostess and one of the judges of the show -- which features favorites from the network's previous "Project Runway" episodes -- Lindvall's face will be front and center.

She's aware that might change her life. "I'm nervous about being out there and being recognized, because I'm kind of a hermit," she says.

"I'm trying to take a positive look on it. One, I hardly ever leave home, and my little community already knows me because it's a little village, and that's no problem. It's primarily in airports (that I'm recognized)."

There's not much that frightens Lindvall, who became a model when her sister talked her into signing up for a local fashion show in her hometown of Kansas City, Mo.

"I was a serious tomboy and my oldest sister, she used to watch those beauty pageants and she was like, 'Oh, Dad, I want to do this.' My grandmother passed away and left some money, so Dad enrolled the two of us in a modeling school in Missouri. And secretly -- even though I was a tomboy -- I kind of enjoyed it, because we learned how to put outfits together.

"It was kind of an etiquette school as well, so we learned basic etiquette and then learned how to do hair and makeup and put these outfits together and did a little runway show. And agents from all around the world came to watch. They were going to choose who got to go where, and I did not even consider myself a candidate. I didn't know a thing about the fashion industry. I didn't know you had to be tall. I certainly was not the pretty girl in high school. I was the awkward one When they called my name, I was completely shocked. So I was invited to go to New York and chose an agency."

She waited six months and at 17 moved to New York on her own and began high fashion work. "I grew up really quickly. I now say I'm getting younger as I'm getting older," she laughs.

"You're really exposed to aspects of society that most people aren't. So it also gave me a real sense of what's real to me. I thank my parents for raising me in a humbler, moral way that kept me connected to my roots and the people I grew up with in Kansas," she says, pulling on her cardigan sleeve.

"I have been exposed to all this, but I've made a point to remember where I come from, who I am and know what's important. OK, it might be fun to put on a ball gown and go to a ball -- not many women get to do that -- but this isn't what quantifies what life is about. It was my children [who were] a big part of making that clear to me," says Lindvall, who is one of six children herself.

She was 21 when she became pregnant with her first son. "I've got to say that was the best thing that ever happened to me, because all of a sudden my life wasn't centered around this career that didn't necessarily move me from a passionate place. When I had my son everything made sense."

While she realized that modeling was a rare opportunity, she says she felt like an outsider. "I didn't care about makeup. I didn't care about clothes ... There were all these crazy fashion people and it was, 'Oh, my God, where do I belong in all this?' "

Now the mother of two boys, 6 and 9, Lindvall is exploring other possibilities. She's taking Kundalini yoga teacher training, has a line of jewelry on QVC and has appeared a time or two in the movies.

Mostly what she loves is being at home, growing vegetables in her garden and being with her children. She and her husband are separated. "We don't cohabitate," she explains, "but he lives five minutes away. He's a great father, but we didn't make a great husband and wife together."

Would she be willing to marry again? "All the career stuff has happened really easily, but a domestic partner would be great. I'm willing to try it again. I have a potential one in mind, but I'm not rushing anything."

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